This morning my wife and I had a bit of… an issue. As is often the case, the debate as to which individual in the marriage has territorial rights and claims to a given amount of bed coverings is a hot topic. How those divisions of blankets exist and at what times they are allowed to be violated is a key obstacle in the way of a healthy and happy marriage.
To say that we fought about it is an overstatement. We merely talked, and it was ultimately left open-ended, as there was obviously no conclusion to be had.
I must admit that I am usually the perpetrator of the sheet stealing. For some reason, I have no concept of how many of the coverings I’m actually taking during the night. And the case could be made that I’m not really in a cognizant state of realization when the theft occurs. But, on this particular night, I was the victim. The tables were turned.
I crawled into bed about an hour after my wife went to sleep, only to find out that the very edges of the blankets were just barely touching the limits of the mattress on my side of the bed. Avoiding conflict like I normally do, I decided to grin and bear it… at first. After settling in, it was apparent that this was not working. Add to this the fact that two of the top blankets were rotated to a skew (leading to me being vacated of half of our allotted coverings), and you get a better feel for my conundrum.
To make a potentially long story closer to its appropriate length, I’ll just say that I fixed the sheets, aligning them properly and giving them one final heave in my direction, thus resetting the balance of my nocturnal sleeping environment and making all right with the world.
Fast forward to this morning. My wife mentions to me immediately after setting the bed that all the sheets were on my side. Sensing a bit of irritation in her voice that I violated her bedding rights once again, I couldn’t help to feel some indignation. Does she know what I had to do last night?! I’m next to the cold window for goodness sake! But, internalizing my emotions as always (and probably for the best), I merely said “Oh contraire, mona mi! Your side was the one that had all the blankets when I entered last night.” She replied with a simple “Well, that’s not how they were this morning.”
To be fair, none of this was said in malice… I don’t think. And so what could’ve been an argumentative impasse resulted in a low profile misunderstanding after a bit of explanation. And then we dropped it. But it got me thinking about a couple things.
First, this wide-spread problem of sheet stealing and bedding rights highlights a difference between the perspectives of you and almost everyone else who isn’t you. I know I was not in the wrong last night because of the situation I came into. My perspective was that the edge of the sheets were an inch from dropping off the side of the mattress. But what about my wife? What was she dealing with? Perhaps a rotated, twisted mess of bedding that was not all-too-comfortable to sleep in herself. I don’t know; I didn’t ask. At other times, the roles and emotions may be reversed — her struggling to figure out how to wrestle her fair share back from me. Still at other times, neither could be in the wrong; the covers could just be bunched up between us, pulling away from the sides and exposing our bodies to coldness; or just clumped at the foot of the bed.
We only have our perspective. And, until we ask the other individual(s) involved, we won’t reach any sort of mutual understanding or arrive at a way of assisting one another. Moral of the story: talk, communicate, listen. Sharing our perspectives sheds more light on a situation and possibly helps us in resolving things. Also, at times a different perspective can assist us in getting through our personal struggles in life by giving us an encouraging word, or alternative experience.
Similar to perspective is the second thought I had — how are you realizing an awareness of other individuals around you? As you lay in bed at night and come to a realization that you don’t have the presupposed amount of blankets over your body, it’s often the case that you immediately come to the conclusion that it must be your bed-mate that has perpetrated the crime. But is it always? It’s easy to make that into a rational case when the lights are out and you have no sense of surrounding other than what you’re feeling. But isn’t this just a metaphor for life? How often do we make quick conclusions as to who wronged whom, or “Woe is me! I have been victimized again!”? Often, these conclusions are based solely on emotions without the input of the other(s) involved. At times, it seems as though we’re all-too-eager to be defensive and to blame those around us (anyone around us!) for the things that plague our beings. Even loved ones are not spared. All of it over such petty things as bed sheets!
Practicing an awareness of not only the self but of others (perspectives) and what and who is around us (compassion) are vitally important to our relationships. Without understanding perspectives of others (or ourselves) or where they’re at in their lives or the struggles they may be facing, etc, our relationships will constantly break down and fail. Moreover, we’ll consistently be exhibiting ourselves as uncooperative, insensitive jerks. And when that happens our failure in relations will begin before those relationships can even be formed.